May 30, 2010 GMT
The French Riviera

After another prolonged absence of wifi we hit the French Riviera!

Ax les Thermes to St Romaine de Tarn (Millau) 160 miles

Now out of the mountains we headed through French farm land north east towards Millau. The roads were very bumpy in places but we went through some beautiful French villages. We also encountered our first rain on the continent, brief but fairly heavy. We turned away from the rain for our final run down into St Romain de Tarn & pitched at a steep campsite on the bank of the river Tarn. A restaurant dinner followed with beer, wine & brandy all is well.

St Romaine de Tarn to Carry-le-Rouet (Marseille) 200 miles

First thing in the morning we went out to see the bridge, first riding under it then stopping in Millau for breakfast.

We then set out to ride the bridge itself from north to south admiring the views & the engineering before cruising down to Montpellier. Here we stopped for a look round the city & Jon got a new head set for his sat nav. We left Montpellier taking the smaller roads across the Rhone delta towards Marseille before finaly stopping in Carry-le-Rouet, a resort town that we managed to arrive in after everything had shut for the day. We did manage to find a nice Pateserie that was still open & dined on cake & sweet bread. The camp site we found only had gravel pitches which just about finished off Meg & Duncans tent - we bent many pegs, snapped a pole (mended with gaffer tape) & ruined the ground sheet.

Carry-le-Rouet to St Tropez 140 miles

We left Carry-le-Rouet with the intention of diving through Marseille and onto the coast road all the way to St Tropez, but within 10 minutes engulfed in the City traffic it became obvious that our first priority would be to simply escape Marseille together something we completely failed to achieve. Marseille seems to be having a tunnel built under the city, but this is causing all manner of road works & diversions. After following a steady stream of traffic in aproximately the right direction for a good 20 mins we became separated between traffic lights & round about with Meg & Jon ahead of Duncan. Meg & Jon were then cought in a green wave that took them nearly 2 miles from the roundabout. Duncan followed taking the correct route, but after not finding the others turned round too soon. After a txt conversation we all managed to meet up on the front at Cassis to the east of Marseille, 80 miles & 2.5hrs after going into the city! Creps on the front aleiviated some fustration & we then made our way to Toulon (which we navigated with ease) & round a lovely costal road to St Tropez. We ended the day with a swim in the sea & a beer. The tent was still holding together with tape, but is not long for this world.

Day off 0 miles

A glorious day on the French Riviera! We started off with a swim in the med then a lounge on the beach. We had paninis for lunch & had a wander arround the beach before going for another swim & dinner... with beer.
There are motor home parks here on the beach with hook ups & loads of Brits. The 3 wheeled Piaggio scooters seem to be a hit with the senior generation here.

St Tropez to Antibes - 60 miles

Following the coast road through Cannes we arrived in Antibes shortly after lunch time & ventured to the local shops for a bite to eat. Meg & Duncan then took Megs bike on an adventure to the climbing shop & bought a new tent to replace the battle scarred Vango we've had for the last 7 years. The new tent will take a bit of getting used to, but it seemed OK. For the first time in a while we had access to mains power on this camp site so spent the evening charging everything & playing cards. We also did a good check of the bikes systems adjusting chains, filling scottoilers & water reservoirs & cleaning the lights.

Antibes to St Martin-Vesubie - 90 miles

We left Antibes & followed the coast for the last time, riding along the Promonade d'Anglais in Nice before entering Monaco for lunch. Unfortunately there were too many restrictions on where we could go to ride the circuit, but many of the grandstands and kerbs are still in place from the GP. We next headed to Menton before turning north up the Col de la Turini - it's more impressive on the northern stretch after the top of the col as the tarmac is smoother & the views incredible. On the way into St Martin-Vesubie the rain started to fall lightly, by the time we arrived at the camp it was throwing it down & the ground was very sodden. We pitched the tents, left the bike gear to dry in the toilet block then trudged up the road into the village to find a restaurant - a lovely pizzeria with deserts made by the waiters mother. It had stopped raining by the time we returned to the tents & could see the white caps on the alps that were obscured by clouds earlier.

Posted by Duncan Fortescue at May 30, 2010 05:44 PM GMT

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